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The Father of the Bride


Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge - 1995

First look at the movie – Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge did not evoke the response that it actually got at the hustings. It was a simple tale of young love with the underrated actors namely Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, under-rated because untill then though Shah Rukh had done some hits but was far from the romantic image that he has carved for himself today and was developing more in the villainous mold and Kajol though around for some time had no breakthrough movie to her credit. That the film will create history with its unprecedented run at the Box-Office was unthinkable at the time, it is all in hindsight now.

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge has created history and how… it has had a twenty year run at a single theatre-Maratha Mandir a whopping 1000+ weeks, a record, and we thought that Sholay could never be repeated. The audience fell to the trap of now famous open arms of Shah Rukh standing in the vast expanses of yellow mustard fields of Punjab. Industry buzz is that Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge the film made so much money that Yash Raj Film (YRF) the production company was able to purchase almost a block of land (credited to the astute foresightedness of Aditya Chopra) in upmarket Mumbai and build a state of the art studio one of its kind in India and became the studio to work with. All the actors and characters became household names. It was the story of Raj and Simran. Helmed by the debutant director, the reticent Aditya Chopra, it released on 20, October 1995.

The story of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge begins in London, a conservative father Baldev Singh (Amrish Puri- super) of two impressionable young girls tired of the English sensibilities wants to go back to his desi roots in India and is offering the hand of his elder daughter (as his route back) Simran (Kajol-bubbly) in marriage to his best friend Ajit’s (Satish Shah) son Kuljeet (Parmeet Sethi-cocky) as he has a promise to keep. In the meantime Simran a dreamer wants to explore Europe once, before becoming a demure bride and falls straight into the open arms of Raj (Shah Rukh) who himself is on a trip with friends. After the initial yes, no, maybe, they fall head over heels for each other but Simran has been promised and guess what our hero follows her to Punjab and endears himself not only to the bride’s family but also wins over the grooms family, but still has to contend with the over bearing father of the bride a hard nut to crack. Meanwhile his quirky and friendly father Dharamvir (Anupam Kher-funny) enters the scene and the film hurtles towards the climax at a slow but sure pace, taken forward with beautifully picturized songs in the lush fields of Punjab as well as the huge havelis there, before making the final move Raj’s bluff is discovered by Baldev and he is thrown out after humiliation, which leads to the now famous train depart scene of all times. The father realizes at the nick of time that Raj is the man for his daughter and coaxes her to… Go live her life. All’s well and that ends well.

Though Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge was a simple story but was told with a certain panache, incorporating the cultural values, great locales and super screenplay, leading it to become the biggest blockbuster hit of all times.

There are many behind the scene stories about the movie of how Shah Rukh was not very excited about his role of Raj and required a lot of convincing by Aditya to agree and has been grateful to him ever since.

This was Aditya’s baby through and through right from conception to execution, with his father Yash Chopra having just given the debutante director a free hand and the Senior Chopra never even shot a frame nor interfered during its making. That both his brother Uday and cousin Karan Johar were his assistants during the making, with Karan even playing the cameo of one of Raj’s friend. It was the first time that 30 minutes behind the scenes making of the movie was captured and released before the release of the movie itself and this was also done by these two.

Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge was also the beginning of Manish Malhotra’s love affair of attiring Bollywood. This is the movie which encouraged the Bollywood Industry to embrace shooting at foreign locales with gusto and spawned many lookalikes.

Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA

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